This article was contributed by CareerBliss.com, a career community dedicated to helping people find happiness in the workplace
An internship is a great opportunity to get real-world work experience, feel out an industry and a company and buff up your resume. And, who knows, it could lead to your first full-time job – A study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that 58 percent of employers turned their interns to full-time employees in 2010.
Here are some tips to help you make the most of your internship:
1. Know the Basics
Prepare for your internship by researching both the industry and the company you’ll be trying out. You should have a strong grasp on the basics. Who are the major players? What’s the latest industry news? What are the challenges? Look for opportunities to tactfully display your knowledge. Show everybody that you are starting with a strong foundation and your chances of getting more substantial and enriching tasks during your internship will improve.
2. Absorb Everything
Now you know the basics, but you still have plenty to learn. Approach your internship with an open mind. Listen to what people say. Ask smart questions (but be cognizant of when people are too busy to talk). Seek clarity. Venture outside of your immediate area of responsibility and get a grasp on how the whole operation works. Try to get in on meetings, training sessions and other events where you can learn more about how things get done. Finally, and this is important, accept constructive criticism well.
3. Build Your Network
More often than not, people get jobs and learn about new career opportunities through people they know. An internship is a great opportunity to create a network of professionals. Make a good impression on people. Build relationships. Get contact info. Invite them to join your Linkedin network. These people can help you during your internship by providing you with advice and tips and afterward by being references.
4. Don’t Gripe
Remember: You’re an intern. You’re going to have to do some grunt work here and there. Be prepared to file, do menial computer work and maybe even fetch coffee here and there. Do it … with a smile. You will lose respect if you gripe about it. On the other hand, if you find yourself doing chores more often than more substantial work, it’s time to talk to your boss. You took this internship to learn, not to spend your days doing busy work.
5. Keep a Diary
Keep track of all the the tasks you complete and contributions you make as your internship progresses. This record will come in handy during your internship when discussing what you’ve done with your supervisor. And after your internship, it will be useful when drafting your resume and preparing to talk about your work experience at job interviews.
6. Call Meetings
Do your best to have regular meetings with your supervisor to discuss what you’ve done thus far in your internship and what you have coming up. Ask for feedback and advice. Discuss any difficulties you’ve had. Discuss how you want the remainder of the internship to go. These meetings can be short and sweet, but make sure you check in often with your supervisor.